Where is the Illinois River Road?
Traversing both east and west sides of the Illinois River from Ottawa, 150 miles south to Havana, the Illinois River Road has spurs to the communities of Princeton and Canton. The Illinois River Road corridor has over 100 natural and historic sites and numerous unique communities located throughout its 10-county region.
The Scenic Byway is conveniently located between Chicago and St. Louis, but just far enough to get away from it all. So get off the beaten path and see what the Illinois River Road has in store for you!
Mason State Tree Nursery 17855 CR 2400E, Topeka, IL 61567
Owned and operated by the Illinois Department of Natural Resources, this 240-acre site is dedicated to raising native tree, shrub, grass, and wildflower stock to be used in both public and private habitat restoration projects. The majority of annual nursery stock distribution here goes to private Illinois landowners who possess management plans approved by their district forester, wildlife biologist, or natural heritage biologist. Unlike a typical nursery, Mason State Tree Nursery is arranged more like an arboretum or botanic garden (minus signage). Tree, shrub, grass, and wildflower species groups are planted into microcosms of their wild habitats. Butterflies such as Eastern Tiger Swallowtail, Gray Hairstreak, and Plains Checkerspot abound here, especially around the prairie plantings, as well as host plant trees such as pawpaw, sassafras, and black cherry. Look also for birds like Red-tailed Hawk, Eastern Kingbird, Eastern Bluebird, and Tree Swallow.